I don’t follow you

Please don’t be offended, but I probably don’t follow your posts. I bring this up because in the midst of yet-another politically oriented Facebook dust-up, a friend of mine — someone who I consider an actual friend, i.e., someone who I actually know and met and shared many beers with — indignantly deduced that I no longer follow him. He called me a “dick”, to be precise.

I’ve unfollowed most of my 380 or so “friends” not because I don’t care, but simply to turn down the noise. In a sense, I did it because I want to continue to care. I’m always happy to engage with friends via personal messages or get together in real life, but do I want a steady diet of things that annoy me? No, and neither do you.

Back a couple of years ago or so, Facebook gave us an alternative to the “Un-Friending” with a new passive-aggressive feature that allowed us to simply stop posts from appearing in your feed. “Genius,” I thought. “A near-perfect reflection of real life.”

This particular friend has an even more acerbic wit than mine, and he usually expresses his political opinions with more venom. Sadly, I disagree with most of them as I do his rather extreme dislike of anything-Apple. A former college and community-radio rock DJ, this friend has an entertaining punk sensibility, which I enjoy, but he pulls no punches about the music he doesn’t like — some of which I do.

Though not all of his Facebook posts centered on these topics, many of them do, and I suppose I could be a big boy and just shrug it off as the rantings of a fellow frustrated media mogul wannabe, but at my age, when I have the ability to rid myself of annoyances, I just do.

And I’m sure you do as well. Of course, if you have unfollowed me, you aren’t reading this, but I don’t take that as a slight. I know I express some pretty unpopular opinions. To my conservative friends, you probably bristle at my distaste for your particular brand of flag-waving patriotism.

To my liberal friends, you probably believe my libertarian leanings make me some kind of anti-social outlier.

I think the fact that I can simultaneously piss off both sides of the political spectrum with one short post only proves my stances are devoid of hypocrisy. When everyone disagrees with me, that’s when I know I’m right.

I will not let Facebook arbitrate the value of my real-life friendships.

Facebook bandies the word “friend” around like Walmart uses “associates.” They strip the words of their true meaning.

If I call you a friend, that means you do indeed hold a special place in my life. It means that when you call me, I will pick up the phone. When you write me, I will reply. When you ask for advice, I will spend time researching my answer for you. If you travel to my area, I will ask you to stop in for a visit.

What it doesn’t mean is that I’m necessarily going sit in my kitchen and listen to your political rants or feign interest when you whip out endless photos of your vacations, affirmation memes, pets, dinners, or kids. If I ask to see them, then sure.

But I’m more likely to talk to you about your life and listen to any good story you’d like to share. And when you go, I hope to have a good memory and an expectation to see you again before long.

I became a publisher because I couldn’t find enough information on a favorite topic. I wanted to gather an audience of others who wanted the same information, and I had to work to make my magazine interesting to build that audience.

Who do I follow? Simply put, I follow people adept with this particular media to entertain and inform, but I appreciate anyone who shares original and reasonable ideas.

But if you don’t care what I think, that’s fine too.